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IAN MCKELLEN has been honored with more than 40 international awards for his performances on screen and stage, most recently a Lifetime Achievement Golden Bear from 2006 Berlin Film Festival.

Born and raised in the industrial north of England, McKellen started acting professionally in 1961. After graduating from Cambridge University and serving a three-year apprenticeship with regional British theatres, he rapidly established himself as the leading actor of his generation in Shakespeare and other classical plays in London.

His legendary performances as Shakespeare's "Richard II" and Marlowe's "Edward II" stormed the 1969 Edinburgh Festival and were televised. In pursuit of the ideal theatre ensemble, he was a founder/member of the Actors' Company. As leading man for the Royal Shakespeare Company, he played Macbeth opposite Dame Judi Dench, as well as Romeo, Iago and Toby Belch. He appeared in plays by Brecht, Chekhov, Ibsen, Jonson, Shaw and Stoppard. He has regularly starred at the National Theatre, most recently in "Peter Pan.”

McKellen also works regularly on stage in the U.S.A. In New York, he won every award for his performance as Salieri in Peter Shaffer's "Amadeus." More recently he starred in "Dance of Death" and hosted "Saturday Night Live." He was inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame in 2005.

McKellen has also worked extensively in television in such productions as Stephen Frears' "Walter," "The Scarlet Pimpernel," "And the Band Played On," "Rasputin,” "Cold Comfort Farm" and in the longest-running British soap opera "Coronation Street.”

McKellen has made more than 40 movies and of late, has been discovered by a new generation of filmgoers as Magneto in the X-Men films, the third of which opens this summer, as well as his Oscar® nominated performance in The Lord of the Rings trilogy. In 1996, he co-produced, co-scripted and starred in a film version of Richard III. Shortly thereafter, he won his first Oscar® nomination for his portrayal of film director James Whale in Gods and Monsters. He has just voiced Toad in the animated Flushed Away.

McKellen recently delighted his fans by triumphantly playing Widow Twankey in the traditional pantomime "Aladdin" at Kevin Spacey's Old Vic Theatre and in Mark Ravenhill's "The Cut" at the Donmar Warehouse.

He has been an eloquent advocate for gay rights since he came out in 1988. In 1990, he was knighted for his contribution to the performing arts. A complete biography plus occasional diary entries and regular e-posts by McKellen can be found on


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